Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities Launches Food Access Program Program aims to benefit 500 households

Apr 23, 2020
HOUSTON – In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has launched a food access program for people with disabilities. This program will deliver shelf-stable goods, fresh produce, as well as some basic home necessities for people with disabilities who are finding it difficult to independently secure these items.
 
“We understand that across our city there are food insecurities,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I am proud that my office for people with disabilities has set up a program to ensure that Houstonians with disabilities are not left behind during these trying times. I am also grateful for the generous contributions of Walmart, Sam’s Club, the Houston Food Bank, and Metro. Without their support, this program would not be possible.”


 
“The COVID-19 emergency has disrupted everyone’s daily living routines,” said Gabe Cazares, Director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “This is especially true for people with disabilities who are facing additional barriers in our every-day activities. I am proud of our partnerships with major retailers and nonprofits in Houston who have made this initial food drop possible. And we welcome the participation of additional corporate and nonprofit partners to assist us in continuing this program for our disability community.”
 
To learn more about thee MOPD Food Access Program, including ways to contribute, please visit www.houstontx.gov/disabilities or call 832-394-0814.
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Mayor Turner Launches Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign

Apr 23, 2020
Mayor Turner Launches Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign 
Uber providing $50,000 grant for ride services to be used by domestic violence and human trafficking victims
HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner and Council Member Abbie Kamin announced a city-wide domestic violence awareness initiative to reach vulnerable populations and provide resources for victims. Local law enforcement and the Houston Area Women’s Center are tracking a rise in domestic violence incidents linked to the crisis.
 
HPD saw an increase of 8.72% percent in domestic violence calls for service in March compared to February 2020. The Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) and the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) are partnering with the City so survivors know service providers are open, ready to help and are taking COVID-19 precautions.
 
The Mayor also announced a $50,000 grant from Uber to provide ride services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19’s stay at home order. Uber’s grant expands Mayor Turner’s existing human trafficking COVID-19 response and will assist in launching the city’s new domestic violence response in light of increased reports.
 
“We cannot tolerate victims suffering in silence while home at the hands of their domestic abusers,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I want to thank Uber for stepping forward and providing $50,000 in rides to ensure that they have a safe way to move around. I also want to thank HAWC and the HCDVCC who have worked tirelessly during this crisis.”
 


The city’s and coalition partners’ efforts include:
 Rolling out a social media campaign designed by HAWC and the HCDVCC featuring safety tips, hotline numbers, and videos by Houston Dash players.HAWC and HCDVCC launching a new website, www.nocovidabuse.org, which contains vital information and resources.Leveraging OEM’s messaging delivery systems to ensure people know the DV service providers are open and are able to help.Partnering with the Houston Food Bank to place DV resource flyers in distributed boxes and bags.HEB will assist with printing flyers for these distributions.Providing $50,000 in Uber rides for human trafficking and domestic violence victims as needed.The city is also helping to address the need for short-term hotel lodging for victims since shelters have to reduce their populations to allow for social distancing. 
“We may be apart, but victims of domestic violence are not alone. I am grateful to all of our community partners, and our law enforcement agencies, for working together with us to reach as many people as possible,” said Councilmember Abbie Kamin. “We also call on all residents to be aware, to be vigilant, and to help others in need by sharing this information. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Houstonians are safe.”
 
“We want to build on our existing presence in Houston and do our small part to help during this challenging time,” said Uber’s Trevor Theunissen, Director Public Affairs. “This is part of our global commitment to provide 10 million free rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need. We’re grateful for Mayor Turner’s leadership on this issue and will continue to work with more organizations to move whatever matters.”
 
If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available at (713) 528-2121. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
 
For more information on how Uber is committed to helping around the world, visit their blog: https://www.uber.com/us/en/coronavirus/.
 

For more information about the city’s DV response, contact Minal Patel Davis, Special Advisor to the Mayor on Human Trafficking, Office: 832-393-0977, Cell: 832-596-9965, or minal.davis@houstontx.gov.
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Houston City Council Confirms New Director of Office of Business Opportunity

Apr 23, 2020
Mayor Turner Appoints Office of Business Opportunity Director
Houston City Council approves appointee
HOUSTON – Today, Houston City Council confirmed Marsha E. Murray as Director of the Office of Business Opportunity. She has filled the role as Interim Director since September 2019. Murray previously served as Deputy Director of OBO from 2012-2019.

While at OBO, Murray played an instrumental role in the department’s growth and led comprehensive operational changes and policy updates in the department.  Murray also led the expansion of OBO’s services to facilitate free legal assistance and guidance for Houston’s small business community doing business globally.

In February 2019, Murray received OBO’s Advisory Board Chairman’s Advocate of the Year award for her work on behalf of Houston’s business community.

Prior to joining the City of Houston, Murray served as legal counsel to New York City government for 10 years.  During that time, she worked to ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers had access to social services and led programs that served to maximize housing options for citizens in a perpetually challenging housing market.

“Marsha Murray’s experience and success working with the business community is the kind of leadership the Office of Business Opportunity needs to continue providing economic opportunity and workforce inclusion in the city of Houston,” said Mayor Turner. “She has consistently shown great leadership and is committed to workforce development as evidenced through her professional achievements. Since I’ve been mayor, Houston has awarded nearly more than one billion dollars in City of Houston contracts to MWBEs (Minority & Women Business Enterprises). I expect that level of commitment to continue.”



“I am extremely honored to be asked to lead the Office of Business Opportunity. I am keenly aware of the important role the Office of Business Opportunity plays in ensuring the success of local small businesses and creating employment pathways for disenfranchised individuals,” said Marsha E. Murray, Office of Business Opportunity director. “Under my leadership, I’m committed to providing transformational services and programs to support their resiliency and success.”

Murray has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish from Colgate University and a law degree from Villanova University School of Law. Murray is active in the local community and serves on the board of Zonta Club of Houston, a global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

She is a graduate of the Center for Houston’s Future Business/Civic Leadership Forum and has served as an advisory board member of the World Chamber of Commerce. She has served on national and international panels advocating for the continued support and development of small businesses. Her advocacy for businesses to thrive globally has led her to earn a National Association of Small Busin
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City Launches Houston’s First-Ever Climate Action Plan on 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Apr 23, 2020
HOUSTON – In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability today released the Houston Climate Action Plan, a science-based, community-driven strategy for the City of Houston to reduce greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead a global energy transition. Download the Houston Climate Action Plan at www.greenhoustontx.gov.

“I am proud to introduce the city of Houston’s first Climate Action Plan. These are difficult and challenging times, but this is a historic moment for the City of Houston,” said Mayor Turner. “While we are currently forced to change the way we physically do business, our work must go on. We must deal with the challenges facing us today and prepare for those facing us tomorrow. No other city is better suited to tackle climate change than Houston. That’s why we chose today – the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – to release our Climate Action Plan and let everyone know that although it seems like every aspect of our lives has changed, we are more committed than ever to building a more sustainable and resilient Houston.”

The Houston Climate Action Plan is a critical part of Mayor Turner’s Hurricane Harvey recovery effort and builds upon Resilient Houston, the city’s recently released resilience strategy, which identified climate change as a key threat to the city’s future.



The City of Houston has set a strong example of how to combat climate change and lower emissions in the Energy Capital of the World. Since 2005, the City has reduced municipal emissions by 37%, through building efficiency upgrades, investing in renewable energy, and converting to hybrid, electric, and alternate fuel vehicles. For the past six years, Houston has been the number one municipal user of renewable energy by the EPA and today powers 92% of municipal facilities with renewable energy. The City is a member of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, and Mayor Turner co-chairs Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of almost 450 U.S. mayors demonstrating leadership on climate action.

Reducing Houston’s emissions and leading a global energy transition is a community-wide effort and will require action from residents and the business community. The City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability consulted with community stakeholders, students, businesses, non-profits, Houston’s academic institutions, environmental experts and the energy sector for over a year to ensure the plan had buy-in from the community and was viewed as both ambitious and achievable. The Houston Advanced Research Center and C40 provided technical support, funded by CenterPoint Energy and the Jacob & Terese Hershey Foundation.

To view video and statements of support from Air Alliance Houston, BakerHughes, BOMA, BP, C40, CEER, Center for Houston’s Future, CenterPoint Energy, Chevron, ENGIE, Environment Texas, , Gensler, Google, Greenlots, Headline Solar, Houston Renewable Energy Alliance, Houston Tomorrow, The Ion, NRG Energy, Plug and Play, Shell, Sunrise Movement, Sunrun, The Nature Conservancy, USGBC, and many more visit www.greenhoustontx.gov.

The Houston Climate Action Plan is focused on reducing emissions in the four areas — Transportation, Energy Transition, Building Optimization, and Materials Management – which generate most of the region’s ghg emissions. Each focus area identifies goals, strategies, actions and targets for residents, businesses, and the City to follow.



“Creating the City of Houston’s first climate action plan has been an incredible adventure, but the real work begins with implementation,” said Lara Cottingham, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Houston. “Now, more than ever before, it is important that we have a strategy to bring our community together to protect our environment and innovate our economy. I thank everyone who helped create the plan and encourage all Houstonians to learn how they can take part in building a more sustainable and resilient Houston.”

Visit www.greenhoustontx.gov to view the Plan and register for updates.
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Fire Station Training for Additional Disinfecting Training

Apr 20, 2020

HFD has already implemented several enhanced cleaning efforts at fire stations. And now another element is being added.  In order to provide for firefighter safety, reduce the risk of exposure to infectious disease, and protect against airborne pathogens, the Department will be issuing Disinfecting Sprayers to all fire stations for daily disinfecting of station and apparatus as an additional layer of protection.  Before distribution, District Training Officers will be briefed on how to use the sprayer properly, the disinfecting agent usage, and wearing PPE while operating. The training officers will then instruct firefighters how to use the sprayer in fire stations. 

“For several months now, we have worked to make sure our firefighters remain protected during the COVID19 pandemic and beyond.  These disinfecting sprayers are an additional layer of protection to complement the enhanced station cleaning efforts already in place,” Sam Peña, Houston Fire Chief. 

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Mayor Turner Launches Campaign to Support Local Restaurants

Apr 20, 2020
Mayor Turner Launches Campaign to Support Local Restaurants
Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations partner with the city on #TakeUsToYourTable campaign
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston is partnering with the Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations to encourage Houstonians to support local restaurants.
 
COVID-19 has changed our city and disrupted our routines. Businesses across the state are suffering, and that includes the restaurant industry.
  
According to the Texas Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry has a $70 billion impact in Texas. The restaurant industry is the 4th largest employer in the Houston area, with more than 300,000 employees.
 
To help the restaurant industry, Mayor Turner announced the “Take Us to Your Table” campaign in partnership with the Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations. While you may not be able to get a seat at your favorite restaurant, they can certainly have a seat at yours.
 
“Houston is a foodie town, and our restaurants reflect the city’s diverse culinary tastes and vibrant culture. The COVID-19 public health crisis is having a devastating effect on the men and women who work in the foodservice industry,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I want to encourage the public to support local restaurants through delivery and curbside takeout. It’s important to support the restaurants that make Houston so special. If we work together, we will get through this challenging time together.”
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Surveillance Video, Photo of Vehicle Wanted in Crash That Injured Child at 4600 Galesburg Street

Apr 20, 2020
Surveillance Video, Photo of Wanted Vehicle in Crash That Injured Child at 4600 Galesburg Street
*NOTE Time of News Availability with Investigators and Victim’s Family*

Houston police have released surveillance video and a photo of a suspect’s vehicle wanted in a crash that seriously injured a child at 4600 Galesburg Street about 5:35 p.m. last Monday (April 13).

The surveillance video of the vehicle, a silver/gray Chevrolet Sonic, is posted on the HPD YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/gq8MB9PYtrc.  A surveillance photo of the vehicle is attached to this news release.

Investigators in the HPD Hit and Run Unit stated the female suspect driver knew she struck the child, a pedestrian, because video shows her speeding away from the crash scene and then running a stop sign. 

It is believed the suspect is an Asian female, about 25 to 35 years of age.  She is wanted for felony failure to stop and render aid. 

The victim, a 7-year-old boy, sustained multiple broken bones and head trauma. 

Anyone with information on the vehicle or the wanted suspect is urged to contact the HPD Hit and Run Unit at 713-247-4072 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. 
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Mayor Turner partners with the Russell Westbrook Why Not?

Apr 15, 2020
Mayor Turner partners with the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation and Comp-U-Dopt to help close digital divide for students during COVID-19 health crisis
HOUSTON – In response to the challenges of the digital divide and school closures caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, Houston Rockets star, Russell Westbrook, and his nonprofit organization, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation announced a partnership with the City of Houston and Comp-U-Dopt. 

On Monday, April 13, Westbrook virtually joined a press conference hosted by Mayor Turner and Colin Dempsey, Comp-U-Dopt executive director, to announce that his foundation will provide 650 computers to families with children who need access to online resources. 
 On March 15, the Texas Education Agency closed schools around the state in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and later announced that schools would remain closed through May 4, 2020. School districts transitioned to providing educational lessons via distance learning or digital platforms. However, many students lack the resources at-home to access the learning materials.Since March 18, Comp-U-Dopt has distributed nearly 1,000 computers to Houston families through the Computer Drive-Thru. The program allows families to register for a computer lottery through a website. If selected, the families drive through the Comp-U-Dopt warehouse to receive a free computer. According to recent studies, 83 percent of computer recipients live in households earning less than $35,000 annually, and most reside in Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities neighborhoods. 

The Mayor’s Office of Education is working closely with the Why Not? Foundation and Comp-U-Dopt to ensure that school children have the tools they need to succeed.”Russell Westbrook proves why he is a champion on and off the court. This donation will be a game-changer for many students and their families coping with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The generous contribution from the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation will help young people stay focused on their education at home and until they can return to their classroom.”
“The generous gift from the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation will allow us to significantly increase our inventory and ensure we can to continue to close the gap for Houston families most in need,” says Colin Dempsey, Executive Director | Houston & Galveston for Comp-U-Dopt. “1 in 3 economically disadvantaged students in the Houston area lack access to a computer at home. With the outbreak of COVID19 and the closure of schools, there is an immediate need to get more computers to students and families without access at home.”Comp-U-Dopt is responding to this need not only in Houston but also working to replicate their model in Chicago, DC, Dallas, New Orleans, and San Antonio.
About Comp-U-Dopt
Comp-U-Dopt is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 2007 with a mission to provide technology access and education to underserved youth. Since 2007 Comp-U-Dopt has been providing technology access and education to underserved youth in the greater Houston and Galveston region. To date, they have distributed over 16,000 devices to students in need and delivered over 100,000 hours of technology education. Each year they serve 3,000-plus young people from economically disadvantaged families providing computers and quality STEM and workforce focused after-school programming. www.compudopt.org
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 2503 Almeda Genoa Road

Apr 15, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of a man at 2503 Almeda Genoa Road about 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday (March 31).  

Xavier McConico, 19, is charged with murder in the 339th State District Court.  He is accused in the killing of Earl Anthony-Blair-Foster, 27.  

A booking photo of McConico is attached to this news release.   

HPD Homicide Division Detective J. Pickett and Officer R. Waterwall reported:  

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting call at a gas station at the above address and found the victim with a gunshot wound lying in the parking lot.  Medical assistance was attempted, but the victim died at the scene.  Witnesses stated the suspects fled the scene in an unknown vehicle.  A preliminary investigation indicated the victim got into an altercation inside the gas station.   

Further investigation indicated identified McConico as a suspect in this case.  On Friday (April 10) McConico was arrested and admitted to his role in the shooting. 
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 3206 Shadowfern Court

Apr 15, 2020
Houston police have arrested a suspect charged in the death of a woman at 3206 Shadowfern Court at noon on Friday (April 10).

Mohammed Rasheed, 24, is charged with murder in the 174th State District Court.  A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this news release.

B. Rasheed, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

HPD Homicide Division Officers H. Hay and B. Rothberg reported:

Officers responded to a report of a deceased female at a residence at the above address.  The victim was in her kitchen cooking when she was killed by Mohammed.  The victim was shot and suffered stab wounds.  The motive for the murder is under investigation.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-309-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS
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